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.Ultra The Multi-Alien first appeared in Mystery in Space #103 (November 1965), displacing Adam Strange and Space Ranger as the book's new cover boy. The character was created by DC editor Jack Schiff, and drawn by Lee Elias.

Ultra is sort of like my brother, reader, because his adventures were written by Dave Wood, the same man who wrote my old "Dial H for Hero" series in House of Mystery! Amazing, isn't it? Small world, huh?

So who is "Ultra"? Well, he's secretly former spaceship pilot Ace Arn of Dalesville, USA. The character has an appearance and powers somewhat similar to Metamorpho the Element Man, except Ultra is limited to the abilities contained in each of the four parts that make up his bizarre body. Below is a vintage DC house ad that explains Ultra's powers.


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Below are the covers of Ultra's first three adventures, in DC's "Mystery In Space."
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Mystery In Space #103 Mystery In Space #104 Mystery In Space #105


Ultra's body is a composite of four alien races, each race possessing a different super power. Ultra's upper left side has control over magnetic fields; his upper right side has superhuman strength; his lower right side gives him the power of flight, and his lower left side can fire energy or heat blasts. How did Ace Arn become Ultra? Glad you asked! Below are some panels from the origin of Ultra, the Multi-Alien!


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Yeow! So THAT'S how Ultra got combined with aliens! By the way, Ultra didn't just pick his name out of a hat. It happens to be an acronym! That's right, each letter stands for one of the planets of the races that form the Multi-Alien's body. The last letter, "A," stands for Ultra's secret human identity, Ace Arn. Because he feels like it, Ultra writes out his new name on a cave wall, as he recites a monologue worthy of Shakespeare, or at least Big Bird:
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Below are three more covers featuring Ultra, from "Mystery In Space" #106-108. Notice the checkerboard pattern on the top of each cover -- the "DC go-go checks" have arrived!
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Mystery In Space #106 Mystery In Space #107 Mystery In Space #108

BONUS FEATURE! Reader, here's the "Ultra" entry from "Who's Who in the DC Universe," courtesy of penciler Terry Beatty and inker Dennis Jensen!
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In "Mystery In Space" #108, Ultra found a machine capable of restoring him to his human form of Ace Arn. The change was made even easier the next issue, when Ace installed a "hyper-converter disc" in his belt that allowed him to easily change back and forth, thus destroying one of the main things that made the Ultra character so unique!
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.BELOW: After just eight "Ultra" stories (#109 didn't even feature the Multi-Alien on the cover), "Mystery in Space" ended with its run with #110 (September, 1966).

Reportedly, Ultra's low sales were responsible for the book's editor, Jack Schiff, leaving DC Comics -- but according to the circulation statement in Mystery In Space #110, the book had 182,376 paid subsc ribers.Today, those numbers would mean a smash hit, but back then they meant cancellation loomed. Weird.

Following his "demise," Ultra made an appearance in Adventures in the DC Universe #5, August 1997, panel by John Delaney and Ron Boyd pictured right. Steve Vance's story in this "All Alien Issue" of DCU, titled "Aliens Among Us," recaps Ultra's history in animated form. He even uses his "Hyper Converter Disc" to change to his human identity of Ace Arn!

After that, Ultra showed up in, of all places, DC's new Legion of Super-Heroes book! Cover pictured below, right.

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Mystery In Space #109 Mystery In Space #110 Legion of Super-Heroes #6
...Ultra's most recent appearance came in Legion of Super-Heroes #6, written by Mark Waid, penciled by Barry Kitson and inked by Art Thibert. Cover pictured above right, with the panel featuring an old issue of "Mystery in Space," as well as an old "Superman," below:
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Just for the record, the two comics pictured in the panel above are Superman #144 (April 1961), and Mystery In Space #104 (Dec. 1965) -- .a vintage Man of Steel .classic paired with probably the best cover of the whole Ultra run. Good choices!

Seeing these covers in LSH is a great in-joke, and it's even funnier if you have the original issues (as I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog, do), and know that the blurry BACK cover of the "Mystery In Space" issue pictured in the panel is totally accurate! (There's a scan of the issue's back cover pictured right.)

It's an ad for an Aurora sports model featuring Baltimore Colts Quarterback Johnny Unitas' championship-winning pass on December 28, 1958, in Yankee Stadium against the NY Giants.

Congratulations to Mr. Unitas, and congratulations also to whoever took the time to properly insert the real covers in the "Legion of Superheroes" panel above! Oh, and most of all -- congratulations to the star of this issue of DIAL B for BLOG -- Ultra, The Multi-Alien!

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COMIC BOOK COVERS INSPIRED BY
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